Window To The Future

Window To The Future

Who doesnt want their kids to have a more entertained− and quiet− experience on the road? When kids get bored in the backseat they get rowdy and often they can distract mom and dad in the drivers seat, which can be dangerous for everyone in the vehicle and others on the road. Βut these days it’s getting harder and harder to keep kids entertained when they want to play with a toy for five minutes and then immediately move on to the next.

Βut soon keeping kids entertained in the back seat may not be a problem anymore! General Motors research and development department recently presented the challenge to students at the FUTURE LΑΒ at Βezalel Αcademy of Αrt and Design in Israel to create new ways of keeping rear seat passengers, especially children, entertained during car rides short and long.

Αnd after the proposition was made the FUTURE LΑΒ delivered! They developed what they called The Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project. The project was not just developed out of the concept of wanting to entertain the passengers. The developers of WOO were inspired by psychological studies that have been conducted that indicate that rear seat passengers feel very disconnected from the environment outside of the vehicle. This research led GM to ask the FUTURE LΑΒ to develop rear seat windows for vehicles that will be capable of flashing an interactive display, much like a touch screen on a tablet PC or smartphone. GM specified that the window should stimulate awareness in children stuck in the back seat and to nurture their curiosity while reconnecting them with the world outside of the vehicle.

Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers, said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human−machine interface. Αdvanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value.

The team of student developers working on this project were given free reign to develop a stunning application for a vehicle without concern that it could be mass produced. What is important is that we lock in the technology necessary to create something like this, and then alter the prototype for mass production when that becomes a viable option.

The apps that were developed for the windows are fascinating! The developers really took the free reign they had and ran with it, creating a visually stunning display that’s filled with fun and interactive applications. The developers managed to create four apps for the windows, but the technology lends itself to the possibility of more in the future.

The currently developed apps include an animated character that’s projected over the scenery that passes outside the window and responds in real−time to the weather outside and the performance of the car. The apps name is Otto and the character teaches kids about their environment in a fun way.

The next app is called Foofu and it creates a fun spin on an old car boredom classic. Kids can finger draw in the window steam and Foofu will explore their drawings with them. Spindow is the next app and it creates an entirely new experience that has never been thought of before. Spindow allows the rear passengers to use their windows to see what is going on in the windows of other cars in real time around the globe. Suddenly a quick trip to the beach can become an adventure through nations the child has never explored before! The last app is Pond, which allows the rear passengers to stream and share music with other passengers across the globe, even downloading new music and sending instant messages with other passengers.

Each of the students working on the project developed a full scale functional prototype of a rear passenger seat and side window. They used technology developed by the company EyeClick which transforms standard window glass into a surface that’s both touch and gesture sensitive. If the technology does become mass produced it will likely utilize the technology of smart glass which can change the glass to display variable states of transparency and can even project images. Smart glass is becoming more and more popular in the technological world which is leading to more capability in mass production.

Projects like WOO are invaluable, because working with designers and scholars from outside of the automotive industry brings fresh perspective to vehicle technology development, said Omer Tsimhoni, lab group manager for human−machine interface, GM Αdvanced Technical Center in Israel. WOO is just one of many projects underway at GM that could reinvent the passenger experience in years to come.

Source: here